Movies, Other

Blind Spot Series: Alice in Wonderland (1951)

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Alice in Wonderland (1951)

My March Blind Spot Series Pick was Alice in Wonderland. It’s of course the famous tale of the girl who falls down a rabbit hole and into Wonderland. Much as I love the story (and wonder who goes around sticking their heads down holes?) I’ve never seen this version.

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Books, Other

My Year Trying Audio Books

So this year for the first time I decided to give audio books a whirl. Generally speaking watching Booktubers and such that’s how a lot of people seem to get so much reading done and they tend to rave about the ease of audio books.

Not the case for me. I tried several this year and while I wound up liking the books (usually) I think audio books were a big fat fail for me.

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Books

Furthermore

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Furthermore

Author: Tahereh Mafi

Grade: A-

“Unfold your heart. Sharpen your ears. And never say no to the world when it asks you to dance.”

There was no way I could resist this beautiful cover. It’s an Alice in Wonderland story no less. In this one our hero- Alice – is a girl born without color in a world rife with it. She joins Oliver, a local boy whose given her quite a bit of grief in the past, on a quest that’s very near and dear to Alice’s heart. Mainly, to find her father.

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Books

Queen of Hearts

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Queen of Hearts

Author: Colleen Oakes

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Grade: A

I absolutely love the thought of adventures in Wonderland although recently it’s been hit or miss for me. (Alice in Zombieland and After Alice- they did nothing for me.) Luckily the story of  Princess Dinah was a lot more intriguing and fun.

The Princess is on the verge of her coronation and in love with her best friend when her crappy father drops a bombshell on her in front of the whole court. Not only does she have an illegitimate sister he’s making her the a legitimate Duchess. The new sister is beautiful and graceful and everything Dinah basically isn’t although this actually becomes the least of her problems in Wonderland.

Dinah finds herself trapped in a dangerous mystery and her relationship with the King goes from horrible father to abusive nightmare.

I think Oakes does a very good job with both Dinah and Wonderland. The Princess is not a completely likable character which made her very relatable to me. She’s far from perfect. She doesn’t always behave in the best of fashions (unlike her new sister) but she’s smart, brave and you do get the feeling, as the story goes, her growing empathy and compassion for people is genuine.

There’s only two real locations outside the tension filled palace but in terms of what you’d think of Wonderland both the horrible prison system and the creepy forest are on point. Very good atmosphere building which gives me definite hope for the next book. (Yep, it’s a series. It’s like I can’t stay away from series!)

It does take a bit for the mystery to really get going. Much like Dinah the reader is in the dark and doesn’t know who to trust… You don’t need to have read Alice in Wonderland to “get” this book either.

My biggest nitpick on this one (besides that it’s the start of another series) is that I’m ready for sequel.

This would also be a really fun movie Hollywood. Darken up Chloe Grace Moretz’s hair and you’ve got yourself a Princess Dinah.

Recommend: Yes. I’m crossing my fingers the sequel is just as enjoyable. 

Books, Other

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite Classics

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Freebie: My Favorite Classics

 Top Ten Tuesdays is a freebie week this week and I’ve been looking to get back into reading classics. Truth be told I’ve never had a particular easy time with them. Partly because I never like having things that I “have to” read and partly because of school through the years.

 So I used this as a little memory refresher of the ones I loved and the ones that have stayed with me:

Lord of the Rings

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The ultimate fantasy. The ultimate story of good vs. evil. I actually didn’t read this one in class but on my own and before the movies came out. The first thing I knew about it was my mother had a fear of hobbits growing up because her mother had forced her to read it. I loved it anyway! I think Aragorn might be my first fantasy husband.

Wuthering Heights

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This one actually was a school read but was helped along considerably by a wonderfully cheesy early 90’s movie version with Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche. (And really if you’re going to have anyone play those infamous characters those are pretty top-notch casting choices.)

This is one that I want to read again to see if I still love it now that I’m older and more cynical.

Alice in Wonderland

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Ah, the book that had me convinced of other worlds and door ways to wild, wonderful and (as I got older and learned more about it) somewhat creepy adventures. If I’m ever lucky enough to publish my own writing one day there’s a lot of threads that are influenced by this story. I recognize that already.

My two favorites however :

A Tale of Two Cities

1953

We read this junior year in Honors English and I actually was excited to read this one. I couldn’t understand the love for the book and no one was really “getting it” but my mother kept saying, “Keep reading. Keep reading. It will all make sense in the end.”

And then I read that last page and it really did all fall into place and it clarified the rest of the book for me. (And other people in the class.)

It was really a case of everyone going, “Now we get it!”

Crime and Punishment

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In my high school there were multiple Honor English courses for the first three years and then 2 Senior AP courses. Literally, this was the book that weeded out the students. People dropped like flies just at the idea of having to read Crime and Punishment.

It was strangely the only book the teacher that year actually seemed to enjoy teaching so I wound up having a really great experience with it. We put Raskolnikov on trial and I played Sonia, his girlfriend. It was perhaps the most I participated in four years of school. I was so proud I read it and aced it that I have always had a particular love for the story.

It’s funny how with the classics, especially the experiences around reading them, color my love (or dislike for them.) Hopefully, I knock a few off my list to read this year.